Enlightenment—the Next Generation of Linux Desktops
Hardware requirements are 700MHz CPU, 384MB of RAM, 8GB disk space, graphics card capable of 1024x768 resolution, sound card and Internet connection.
There was a lot of hype over gOS when it was still being discussed in forums. It was thought that Google was creating a Linux distribution of its own. But, this turned out to be in error. gOS is a polished distribution that utilizes certain elements of Enlightenment for its beautiful special effects. It also uses the GNOME desktop and Compiz—thus, the slightly more modern hardware requirements. Space 2.9 is geared toward the 100,000,000 MySpace users. The revolutionary space dock used by gOS closely resembles the Mac OS X dock with stacks that open and swerve to reveal further options beneath.
gOS is an excellent system for the modern digital life. It includes everything users ever would need in an Internet system. However, gOS falls short in its full usage of E17. There are too many other elements in play where E is neither seen nor heard. For instance, E's Engage dock is replaced with a gOS creation. Plus, E's eye candy has been overridden by Compiz Fusion. So, where is E? In my opinion, gOS is a Mac copycat, and that's not a bad thing. In fact, I think it's a welcome twist to the numerous Windows look-alikes in the Linux community. So, if you're looking for a fast, fun to use and Mac-like distribution, try gOS.
Hardware requirements are 300MHz CPU and 128MB of RAM.
Elive is an attempt at a pure E17 desktop experience. It also includes the former E16 stable release; both are available at boot. I really enjoyed the E17 experience using Elive. It's small enough that it can be run comfortably from the live CD without installing it. Although some features, such as playing DVDs, were not enabled. The Elive CD is the fastest live CD I have tried to date, which must be due to the inherent speed of E.
Elive has a very polished look and offers two themes: night or day. I did not experience any crashes while using the system, although don't expect everything to work without problems, as E17 still is under development. If stability is what you prefer, you can try the E16 desktop, but E16 is not as pretty.
Elive contains its own configuration panel, called Epanel, which enables users to control the entire E system—adding and removing packages, configuring hardware (Elive has great hardware support by the way) and customizing the overall look and feel of the system.
If you want a true E experience, try Elive. My only issue with Elive is that it requires users to pay a minimal fee before downloading. The default is $15 US, though this can be dropped to $5. And yes, it is possible to download it free of charge, but to do so, you must send the developers an e-mail asking for an invitation code.
My only only concern with Elive is that Enlightenment is not ready as a full-featured desktop experience—some features seem unfinished. But, Elive is a wonderful awe-inspiring walk down the path to Enlightenment.
So, if you want to try E17 exclusively, with no added components from other window managers/desktops, don't hesitate to download Elive. After all, $5 will aid Elive's developers to continue their noble work.
I first should mention that OpenGEU is not an official Ubuntu derivative. It is based on Ubuntu and shares its repositories, but it's not Ubuntu. OpenGEU's subtitle explains the philosophy behind this newer distribution: “when a GNOME reaches Enlightenment”. OpenGEU's ambition is to fill in the missing parts of E17 with the working parts of the GNOME desktop or Xfce. And, it does this very well. This hybrid system is a fully functional Enlightenment desktop with the power of Ubuntu's GNOME desktop melded with the effects of E17. For example, the file manager missing from E17 is filled with the Xfce Thunar file manager, and it works without a hitch.
OpenGEU includes two themes: sunshine and moonlight. Both are exquisitely beautiful with animated elements—typical E style. In the sunshine theme, the sunbeams appear to shine forth at certain times, and under the moonlight theme, the Enlightenment E logo apparent on the moon reflects within the ripples of an ocean of water at regular intervals. Users can change between themes at the press of a button. Other themes are included, and users can download additional themes from get-E.org.
OpenGEU not only borrows Xfce's Thunar file manager, but it also borrows its panel. And, the bar across the top of the screen is from GNOME. But, hidden beneath the scenes is E. I am delighted with the mix. The distribution is not without its bugs, but E's performance does not appear to be altered in the least through the addition of various GNOME and Xfce components. OpenGEU is a glimpse of what we can expect from the 1.0 E release.
There was one strange “bug” that I discovered when clicking on a file from my desktop. Instead of defaulting to the Thunar file manager, E's own file manager opened, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I was humored by the wiggling icons, but the total experience is not finalized. It lacks a certain appeal—that look of completeness. I can understand why Thunar was chosen in its place. Perhaps EFM should be removed from OpenGEU entirely.
OpenGEU is different enough to be noticed by family and friends. It's easy to use, simple to install and fanatically fun. You can expect E's total functionality with animations, fading and shadows. I used OpenGEU for quite some time for the purpose of this review, and it is the most pleasant E experience I encountered. This is one distribution I'll definitely be watching, and it's the distribution from which I am writing this review. If you are looking for the ultimate E experience, try OpenGEU. You won't be disappointed.